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Plastic Bags: Stop Being Part of the Problem (+ video)

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If you find yourself in the position of not having any bags lying around, or, if you are like me and are a menace with a needle and thread, than you’ll want to buy a few bags–I’d suggest four to start. You can get them at pretty much any supermarket these days and they generally are around 99 cents a piece (the 99 cents store sells them for that price as well) and on the Internet at places like

Presently, many stores will give you back 5 cents per bag each time you bring them in, so not only will these pay for themselves, but they’ll make you money in the long run! I suspect that the 5 cent offer isn’t going to stick around for long, so the sooner you start, the better the return on your investment.

Once you’ve gotten your bags, the trick of course if to train yourself to remember them. While juggling eggs to the car will curb your habit rather quickly, we’d all rather avoid the scenario to begin with right? What works for me is to keep the bags hanging by the door in plain sight so that they are a constant reminder as you leave. Pretty soon, it’ll be second nature and you won’t leave home without them. Another idea is to always keep them on the back of your bike or in your car, again, making them accessible anytime you need.

I know you’re scratching your head and thinking “that’s it, that’s all he’s got?” and the answer is, “yep, cuz it’s really not that hard.” Believe me, if I can train myself to stop throwing things out training yourself to remember a bag should be easy.

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Dave Chameides

Dave Chameides is a filmmaker and environmental educator. His website and newsletter are designed to inspire thought and dialogue on environmental solutions and revolve around the idea that no one can do everything, but everyone can do something. "Give people the facts, and they'll choose to do the right thing."


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4:14PM PDT on Sep 8, 2014

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12:00AM PST on Dec 24, 2013

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10:19AM PDT on Aug 7, 2011

Why is it that plastic bags are still a problem when we know whta affect it has in environment and peoples health?

5:27AM PST on Feb 12, 2011

Cloth bags are the only way to go!

11:13AM PST on Feb 10, 2011

i try not to individually bag my produce, really what is the point. i do use cloth bags for my main stuff but i do still accumulate the plastic grocery bags which i reuse for cleaning the kitty box.

3:07PM PDT on Sep 14, 2010

Due to my forgetfulness of grabbing the fabric bags when going out the door, I now keep the lot of them on the floor in front of the passenger seat of my car. I do my shopping for food on the way home after work so this helps me to just grab them as I get out of the car which by the way gets 37 mpg.

plastic spring

6:22PM PDT on Aug 27, 2010

Well, I've been refusing plastic bags at the stores for awhile now, and I can tell you the only store in my town that gives any sort of discount is Target (wow, 5 cents!). CVS doesn't give an award for using my bags.

As far as garbage, I'd like to know what the write is not throwing in the trash besides food scraps. We rarely have any food-type of stuff that goes in our trash, but there's plenty of other yucky stuff that can make for a mess. Also, most communities require the use of trash bags. (I admit I cheat on that one, but when I see trash ending up on the street and in the ditches, then I am reminded why they require baggin of trash.)

I am disappointed, because I was led to this article via another with the belief I'd be told a good alternative to sandwhich and gallon-size plastic bags. I didn't see one here. There is a limit to glass storage, especially in context to packing kids lunches.

9:19AM PDT on May 7, 2010

The basic building block of plastics is cellulose taken from petroleum, but toxic petrochemical compositions are not the only way to derive plastics. Plastics can be derived from plant cellulose, and since hemp is the greatest cellulose producer on Earth (hemp hurds can be 85% cellA recent technological advance with biodegradable plastics made from cornstarch has led to a new material based on hemp. Hemp Plastics (Australia) have sourced partners who have been able to produce a new 100% biodegradable material made entirely from hemp and corn. This new material has unique strength and technical qualities which have yet to be seen before, and this new material can be injection or blow-molded into virtually any shape using existing moulds, including cosmetic containers, Frisbee golf discs, etc.ulose), it only makes sense to make other organics, instead of letting our dumps fill up with refuse.
The possibilities are endless with hemp plastics and resins, and bio-composites. Virtually any shape and purpose can be fulfilled by bio-composite plastics. Hemp plastics are already on the rise, it is only a matter of time before we will see the need to grow hemp in the United States to meet our demands.

6:10AM PDT on Apr 11, 2010

First of all, you can't ban anything worldwide...but you can ban things in this country. Secondly...people shouldn't be using paper bags either...thirdly, people need to start PAYING for bags...then people will start bringing their own. They are free at the store, so people just grab a bag abd fill it, grab another bag and fill it...when bags are not free, then people will come to the store with why are the bags free?

9:10AM PDT on Mar 17, 2010

I have very beat up canvas bags and here in Hong Kong we get charged if we don't bring our own bag. It was easy to change since I already had the bags. For the fruits/veggies I use smaller cloth bags that were meant for making soups. A pack of 4 cost about US$1. I've also made some from reusing the mesh type and adding a small paperboard tag with a clip to apply the price tags. The grocery is used to it and I feel much better to not have the plastic.

Even the dry cleaners has switched to a fabric clothing cover and we turn them back in at the next visit. It can be done.

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